Tamales. I love them. In my family we have them for Christmas and New Years dinner every year (and other times too of course). But made right they are a complete pain in the ass and take days of labor to put out…and they tend to destroy a kitchen in the making.
There’s nothing like homemade french fries, especially since I learned to fry them properly: once at a lower temp until they’re soft, and then again at 365 degrees to crisp them on the outside. They’re a royal pain to do this way, but it’s the only way to do them perfectly. I try not to make them too often, because it’s impossible to keep from eating way too many. The trouble factor and the mess factor keep me from making them more than two or three times a year.
I make a veggie lasagna that everyone loves, but I don’t make it too often. It takes a long time to make, dirties too many dishes, and makes a mess of the entire kitchen. When I do make it, certain conditions must be present:
I have the day off from any other responsibilities, and nothing that I really wanted to do is scheduled for that day;
Nobody else can be home, because:
I have to be able to turn the stereo up as loud as I want, on whatever music I desire, and to sing along as loudly as I feel like singing;
There must be sufficient available tasty adult beverages.
I like making ravioli. It isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming.
My pain-in-the-ass category is anything that requires true deep frying. I love me batter-fried fish, and fried chicken, and stuff of that ilk, but dealing with a large quantity of hot oil is a pretty big deal in my modest kitchen. Pan-fried chicken is good, but it isn’t as good, y’know?
I’ve only made them a couple times, they were damn good, but holy fuck it takes forever to get a tiny little bit of filling into some three dozen little wonton wrappers.
Another thing I love to eat, not always to make, is twice baked potatoes. When I stop to think about it, it’s not really that hard, but I once had to make about forty of them to feed a group of twenty fraternity guys, and it was non-stop work, especially when I’m also trying to make some roast beef, too.
Another vote for lasagna. The dish I make that takes the most time is smoked brisket. A 12 lb packer-cut brisket takes about 8-10 hours in my smoker. The hit of the party, but a real time-suck. I have to tend the fire and smoke all day, drinking beer and shooting the shit instead of helping out in the kitchen, vacuuming the rugs, dusting everything in sight, etc. It’s a heavy burden, but one I bear without malice or complaint.
Chile Rellenos - another deep-fried treat. I like mine stuffed with chihuahua cheese and corn kernels. But you’ve got to roast the poblanos, peel off the skin being careful not to split the chile, cut the kernels off the corn, grate the cheese, stuff the chiles, make the batter, then fry them up. And since they’re such a pain in the ass to make, you don’t want to make one or two, you want to make ten or twelve, and invite a bunch of people over for margaritas and chiles. God, what a mess! But they are SO good!
Yorkshire pudding. I know you’re supposed to be able to make it by just leaving the pan underneath roasting beef to catch the drippings, but that never works.
Cheesecake. I LOVES me some fluffy NYC cheesecake, but I can only make a dense, eggy cheesecake.
Come to think about it, I’m turning this thread into “Foods I love to eat, but can’t make quite right.”